The bear and the nightingale

a novel

322 pages

English language

Published Nov. 6, 2017

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4 stars (2 reviews)

"In a village at the edge of the wilderness of northern Russia, where the winds blow cold and the snow falls many months of the year, a stranger with piercing blue eyes presents a new father with a gift - a precious jewel on a delicate chain, intended for his young daughter. Uncertain of its meaning, Pytor hides the gift away and Vasya grows up a wild, willful girl, to the chagrin of her family. But when mysterious forces threaten the happiness of their village, Vasya discovers that, armed only with the necklace, she may be the only one who can keep the darkness at bay."--

6 editions

Review of 'The bear and the nightingale' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden is a unique retelling of Russian folk legends. Well-researched and communicated with engaging prose, there is a lot that folks will like with this one. It is historically accurate to a fault, however, and that will lessen the enjoyment for some. Regardless, there is a beautiful story within these pages.

One of the things I loved about this book is Arden’s work to bring Russian folklore to a wider audience. I’m always appreciative of authors who are willing to plumb the depths of their own experience and history and share that with the world. Arden does so with prose that is always engaging and edges into absolutely beautiful at times. Perhaps one of her truly stellar accomplishments with this novel is the ambiance of the book. At times dark and cold and at times warm and whimsical—though those two extremes and the …

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rated it

5 stars


  • Good and evil
  • Magic
  • Spirits
  • Young women
  • Villages
  • Fiction


  • Russia